Maurice Broomfield Exhibition @ Derby Silk Mill Museum

Luckily some friends went to the opening of this exhibition before they met us for ‘Until the Light takes us’ so we knew it was on. And even more luckily, thanks to an early finish visiting Sudbury Hall we could come home via Derby to take a look at the show.

It was a very simple exhibition in a small area at the far end of the museum. Nothing very fancy about any of the hangings, but given the subject matter anything other than simple would have just looked strange. Maurice’s photos are all simplistic shots of people working, mainly in heavy industry so worked well in the simple frames used here. Much of the work seemed to be part of the general ‘Nobleness of work’ themes that appear in a lot of Soviet art, many of the men are shown in particularly ‘heroic’ poses and all the women seem to be showing some glamour from under their work clothes. Most of the work was Black and White with a couple of colour pieces, personal taste at the moment drew me to the B+W images. It was quite a small collection (~20 images), but there’s plenty to look at.

It was great to see actual proper large prints. Think having mainly been used to digital I’ve got used to seeing images just on a computer screen, seeing a high quality print from the original is just amazing. The amount of quality that’s visible (in the Yard Foreman picture you can see the veins and detail in the back of the eye) is wonderful. Seeing these has really made me want to start printing pictures as opposed to just scanning them. That and starting to think about medium and large format photography, though I think getting quarter way competent with 35mm might be a good start :).

This was also our first visit to The Silk Mill. Not knowing anything about it beforehand I was impressed when we walked in and were faced with a large display of Rolls-Royce’s finest aero engineering (including a complete RB211). And there’s rumoured to be a railway section as well. A return visit is planned, and given their enlightened attitude to photography (£1 donation for a photo pass) I think I’ll be taking some pictures as well.

Maurice Broomfield

Derby Silk Mill Museum

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